I think I'm getting better.
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My World of Warships stats continue to slowly rise. I suppose that's to be expected. I'm certainly not a naval prodigy, and the total of new battles fought per week is a steadily declining percentage of total battles fought. And I didn't fight any battles on two days this week due to RL. Nevertheless, I am learning quite a bit as I work my way towards obtaining the Pensacola class cruiser. At this point I have completely upgrade my Cleveland class cruiser, and that includes the four purchased upgrade slots. It cost my around 2,000,000 credits, but it was so worth it in my opinion. Here's what I purchased:
[caption id="attachment_5721" align="aligncenter" width="398"] Main Battery Modification 1[/caption]
On several occasions in fights with higher tier battleships I've had my battle cut short with a well places AP round. Magazine detonations are catastrophic. I believe I've mentioned this before. A 20% decrease in their occurrence huge. They still happen, but everything helps. Also, with the loss of a turret you lose a quarter of your damage potential. Both the 20% decrease in the chance of a turret incapacity, and the 20% increase in repair time will keep my Cleveland in top form.
[caption id="attachment_5724" align="aligncenter" width="489"] AA Guns Modification 2[/caption]
The Cleveland is an AA machine. It was the first U.S. cruiser designed with air defense in mind. If you are not using your Cleveland to provide AA for your fleet, IMO you are doing it wrong. Don't think you'll miss the action just because you stay in the rear and protect your carrier from the other carrier. How many games have you been in where your carrier captains decide to go after the enemy carrier first? This is especially prevalent in two verses one situations. Put a couple Clevelands around your carrier and their planes will ger a rude surprise. With this upgrade I get a larger AA umbrella, and provides some maneuver space while still protecting my charge.
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The last two upgrades are related and complimentary. The Cleveland class cruiser has a top end speed of just over 30 knots. It is very important to keep that maximum speed. It gives you a greater range of gears to go through if you would. It's not about running straight and true. It's about giving yourself the largest range of options, and the ability to move at all. An unmoving ship is what caused people to coin the phrase sitting duck in the first place. Keeping my engines running also means I have a better chance of getting where I need to be at the moment I'm needed.
But speed isn't all that it's about. The stock Cleveland tends to wallow. It's slow to turn and this lowers its maneuverability. When it seems the ocean is full of more torpedoes than fish, you need every bit of maneuverability you can get. Near the end of this battle you can see what I mean (video is pre-positioned.)
As you can see in the video, there is a very specific tactic you need to use when dealing with torpedo bombers. You must turn into the attack. If you can't turn into it, turn away, but that risks your steering and your ability to dodge subsequent attacks. Turning into the torpedoes is far better. As you saw with the first drop, I was able to steer between them and avoid any damage. On the second drop, I still ate one, but it was on the bow and at an angle. The damage wasn't that bad, and more importantly I didn't suffer any flooding. Oh, and how do you know when the torpedo planes are about to drop? Remember that AA upgrade giving me a longer range? The range is longer than most torpedo drops. If you hear your AA guns open up in a steady roar, someone is making a run on you. Take your eyes off the ship you were looking at and turn in the direction your tracers are heading. You don't need to find the torpedo planes to know which direction is toward them. Your odds of surviving the attack in a cruiser are far higher when you have this advanced notice and turn into the torpedoes. It takes a very skilled aircraft carrier commander to get a multi directional drop on you (the best offense against this maneuver IMO,) and when you're putting the pressure on by raining shells on his flight deck you disrupt the hell out of that idea.
And speaking of raining shells, I've read lots of complaints about the Cleveland's main guns. They are a low velocity weapon, and as such lob shells in great arcs. That takes time to land, and it can be tricky getting the proper lead on a ship. Have a look at the video again. There is a reticle on your gun sights. It's indispensable for aiming as you are well aware. When it comes to the Cleveland, increase our lead another 50%. Most ships capable of 30 knots or more will require the entire reticle for a lead and perhaps a bit more. If you are unsure of the correct lead, fire one turret at a time. be patient. Find the correct mark and then fire full volleys. Watch his speed and angle; compensate as needed. Once you get the correct lead, these compensations will be the same as for any other ship.
And don't forget the Cleveland is artillery. Artillery has distinct advantages in certain situations. You can shoot over almost any island on any map except the really big ones. Just because an enemy ship runs behind an island doesn't mean you shouldn't still shoot it. You should, because your shells will clear that island and still hit their mark. That's one reason when I'm faced with Cleveland cruisers on the other side and I'm in range, I'll change speed and direction or at least range when I get behind the island. The opposing Cleveland captain won't be able to compensate because they won't see what I did. But I've not seen a lot of ship captains thinking this way. Most destroyers for example think they're safe when they get behind an islands. I've seen cruisers think they're safe for hugging a shoreline. Lob shells at them and show them the error of their ways. :)
And until next time, battle on!